Background

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls has expanded economic sanctions against Burma to two state-owned enterprises responsible for timber and pearl exports from Burma.

According to OFAC, Myanma Timber Enterprise is responsible for the production and export of timber on behalf of the Burmese military regime, while Myanmar Pearl Enterprise is responsible for oyster fishing and collecting, artificial breeding of oysters, culturing and harvesting pearl, and selling pearl through the Myanmar Pearl Event. MPE also approves licenses for oyster fishing, collecting and sales of oyster shells, and registration of oyster diving vessels and pearl and oyster technicians. Both are key generators of government revenue.

As a result of the designation of these enterprises pursuant to Executive Order 14014, all property and interests in property of these entities that are in the U.S. or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked entities are also blocked.

Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt, all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the U.S. that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked entities are prohibited. These prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked entity or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such entity.

For more information on the Burma sanctions and ways to ensure compliance, please contact attorney Kristine Pirnia via email.

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